Hi everyone…I feel like it has been a while since I introduced myself…like really introduced myself. Do you even know who I am? How did you find me?
You know how they say grief is like the ocean? I have hit that point in the waves where I want to run away with my family. I literally day dream about selling all of our valuables and our home and moving to a remote tropical island and living off the land with Steve and my kids. A place where shoes and brushing your hair is completely optional. To get away from the heaviness of the world. Don’t panic, I won’t, because the logical side of me is still very much intact. But, part of me wishes I were that brave because my family feels closest to Hayes near the ocean. It feels like home. Read More
My stomach had been a bundle of nerves in anticipation of these moments. I was nervous. This place was a place where 7 months before, life had been beautifully perfect. Our kids had played in the sand, the babies had climbed on the playground and Hayes had swung in the swing, tube free and cancer free for a moment. Our lives had culminated to that day on the beach with Hayes and pure bliss and the true meaning of life was felt. I was nervous. What if we never feel that again? How can we possibly feel that ever again without Hayes?
We walked up to the beach, the one that now belongs to Hayes. The beach is on Balboa and there is a playground right on the sand. A row of swings is lined up along the side and during the day, it is usually hard to find an empty swing. This day was no different. All of the swings were packed with parents pushing their happy kids. But, there, in the center, was Hayes’ swing, sitting empty and lightly rocking in the beach breeze. He was waiting for us. His soul had pulled us back.
It was a quiet, peaceful feeling. A part of our family will always be there. We cried, we hugged and we talked about our sweet boy. Bo was touched more than I had expected. Our older children seem fine but sometimes it hits them and thankfully, they let it out. Bo cried in my arms and was my little boy for a minute.
One of the reasons we started the foundation is because we want other families to experience the joy we felt in California. The Make-A-Wish foundation is so amazing and does so much good for the world. But, a little known fact is that they don’t grant wishes for children under the age of 3. But cancer affects the whole family, so a huge group is neglected and forgotten. We hope to fill that gap. We have been able to help several families already.
The next day, after the beach, we had arranged to meet a family I had found on social media. The Ellis family has a little 16 month old baby girl that has Choroid Plexus Carcinoma which is exactly what Hayes had. She is being treated at the Children’s Hospital of LA. We arranged to visit them and it meant so much to us that they welcomed us into their lives for a moment. We had raised money for them during the month of May, brain tumor awareness month. Gifting them a check and telling them to make memories with their children made all those painful, fresh wounds worth it. Hayes wanted this! I feel like Hayes directs us to those kids and families that need us. He has the wheel, I am just sitting there while he directs me!
That day I received a message in my inbox. A follower I do not know reached out to me and asked me if he could gift our family tickets to Disneyland. To be honest, we hadn’t planned on returning to Disneyland anytime soon. It was still too fresh, but once again, it wasn’t up to me. I truly felt like Hayes was giving us the go ahead. He wanted us to return. The next day we went and it felt like one HayesHint after another. A Mickey sticker on the cement, Mickey ears found unclaimed for Mia, a tiny Mickey Mouse bead on the ground, walking into a shop and seeing a Disney “H” on the ground, getting the green car on our first ride, seeing two separate sets of triplets, and lastly, seeing a butterfly land on the Mickey Mouse hat of the man in line in front of us. While all of these may seem small, I felt like it was our sweet Hayes, encouraging us every step of the way. Love that boy so much for the joy he continues to give us.
Newport was so perfect. It will continue to be a Mecca that we return to every year, in honor of our Hayesey. Our plan is to return every November, a yearly trek to honor our boy and recognize the happiness he gave and continues to give us. How lucky are we that he is ours?! We know him, we love him and we now live for him. I feel hopeful that although he isn’t here, he will continue to give us opportunities for bliss, memories and hints. Those are the truly meaningful moments of life!
Is there anything more annoyingly stressful than choosing out outfits for a family photo shoot? It is so unimportant, but I care! I have been able to come up with a little system in picking family outfits. I usually have one person wear a busy, patterned outfit or stand out color, that is the first outfit I figure out. Then I highlight with other colors from the pattern or that subtlety compliment. I work around the pattern and do subtle textures and slight patterns from there. Sounds easy enough, but gees…it sucks!
I started out with my dress. I mentioned it before, but I love this Target find! It is so flattering on and I feel like it was the perfect springboard for the rest of the outfits.
I am so happy with these photos. I was so nervous to take pictures without Hayes, but no doubt I will find a way to incorporate him forever! The giant green balloon was the perfect representation of him for these pictures! While there were hard moments, I felt Hayes close. Plus, if you look closely, in some pictures his little orb is ever present! Here is to conquering fears and seeing the beauty in the outcome! Which one is your favorite?